Just before the Saints set off for Gather Round, Jack Higgins sits down for a chat to talk through his memories as a young Saints fan, being coached by the players he idolised as a child, his recollections on his cracking Goal of the Year contender against the Magpies and plenty more.

Higgo, thanks for swinging by for a quick chat. First things first, we've got the new guernsey here... thoughts on the candy stripe kit? Does it bring back a few memories growing up as a Saints fan?

Any time! Yeah, I love it. I don't know why I had it as a young kid, but it's a great kit. The first player that comes to mind is probably Milney. I was pretty young back then, I would have been six or seven. I didn’t have a number on me back because everyone was a star, Milney, Dal Santo, Goddard… just everyone to be honest. They were just stars back then. I remember going to games thinking ‘we’re going to pump these blokes’… it was a pretty good era to grow up in. 

What are some of your core memories growing up supporting the Saints?

Me, Dad and Mum went to every Saints home game. We didn’t miss a game. I remember being at the Grand Final when BJ took that mark (in 2010). Mum and Dad were members and got a ticket in the raffle to sit in the pocket. All the Saints fans were just hugging each other, we thought we’d won it.

I remember one where Milney kicked nine, 10, 11, can’t remember how many it was. Think it was in 2005. I think that was the game where the photo of me in the candy stripe jumper came about. I didn’t even know the bloke who was holding me up in the crowd!

So that wasn’t your Dad who picked you up?

Nah it wasn’t my Dad! It was a stranger, Dad was sitting next to me. Dad was pretty outgoing and chatted to a lot of fans, so we must have all got chatting at the game. I know his face... I maybe sat next to him once or twice at other games but never saw him again! I think the camera was panning around at the time and he just grabbed me, but shout out to that bloke for getting me on telly! Dad never let me have Tim Tams growing up either, so I think this bloke just shoved it in me gob and I was eating it when the camera came past. That or I pinched one!

You’ve made it onto the broadcast a few times during your time!

Yeah I’ve featured in a few as a kid. I was in that one where Riewoldt kicked the goal in the (2009 preliminary) final. But I reckon Fox Footy or whoever have edited it, it’s not taken live. I’ve actually watched the game back and that moment where I'm there isn’t after Riewoldt’s goal. 

Is it crazy to think you were a young kid watching the Saints, now you're playing for the club, kicking goals in front of kids who were like you wishing to play for the Saints and on top of it being coached by the players you grew up idolising?

Yeah it is pretty crazy and funny in a way. I think it would have been a lot cooler if I was 18 and got drafted straight to the Saints, but being in the system a bit… now you just see them as good people. If I was 18 I would have been starstruck a bit, but because I’ve been in the system for a while, had heaps of assistant coaches and blokes coming in and out you sort of acclimatise to it. 

It’s still pretty cool seeing Lenny Hayes, he’s an all-time, the best bloke I’ve ever met. They were stars at the time, but now you see them as good people and good blokes. They know so much and have so much knowledge about the game. 

Jack Higgins fires at goal during Round 3 against Essendon. Photo: AFL Photos.

What has your forwards coach Robert Harvey been like for your footy?

Yeah he’s been awesome for my footy. I probably saw Harvs towards the twilight of his career and I would have been a bit young when he was in his prime. I saw him around 2004, 2005 when I was five or six. I probably didn’t know many players, I just wanted to see the Saints win! Even Tony Brown just tells us about how good he was and he’s an awesome coach as well. 

He’s been around the block he says, and has been in the system coaching for how many years and he’s just a wealth of knowledge. I’ve never been tighter with my coaches and line coaches. It doesn’t matter if I’ve had my best or worst game, the message is the same every week and it gives me a lot of confidence.

You've bagged seven goals from the past two games. How have you seen your start to the year so far?

It’s not too bad. I was pretty disappointed with my first week, I thought I played alright but I thought I could do a few things better. That’s the best thing about footy, you can’t ride the highest or highs without the lowest of lows, whatever the saying is, you know what I’m talking about.

The goals are really nice, it’s just about keeping the structure and trying to do the best thing for the team at the end of the day. No one knows who kicked the most goals for St Kilda in 2002 or whatever, so we just want team success.

That said, you are a club leading goalkicker from last year!

That is pretty cool, I will go down in the history books! I can tell the grandkids or kids if I have them, so I’ll take that.

There are a couple of new Saints faces floating around in that forward line, Lance Collard among them. What have you seen from him during his time at the club?

For sure, Lancey is going to be a player. I just look at Lancey and he can do some things that not many other people can. Snap on the left-foot, right-foot, evade, run and bounce and he’s got that really good pace, so he’s going to be an absolute gun in the future.

New Saints Lance Collard and Liam Henry are priming to have a big impact on St Kilda's forward half in the seasons to come. Photo: AFL Photos.

Lance might have a few tricks, but your Goal of the Year contender probably shows your trick bag goes pretty deep. Run us through that one again, was it the best you've kicked?

Ahaha yeah… it was a good goal! Darcy Moore got tackled and the ball just landed in me hands. I knew I was getting pressured from Quaynor because he was playing on me coming up against the rope. I was having the shot but I wasn’t, if that makes sense. There wasn’t any other option. I just threw it on the boot… I’ve never hit a ball sweeter! It was like Dave Warner hitting a six or a four, just straight in the middle of the bat. It just sailed through and I heard the roar of the crowd - the game was pretty close at that stage, they’d kicked a few goals in a row - so was pretty lucky to kick that one. It was probably one of the better goals of my career.


And the celebration afterwards laying down on the turf. Were you just a bit stunned that it sailed through?

It was a bit like that! I knew it was 50/50 whether it was in or out, so I was just laying on the ground not for the celebration but seeing what the umpire’s call was because I thought I’d heard a whistle. I then thought they were going to do a score review because my Goal of the Year (in 2018) was one, but luckily it didn’t! My first thought was ‘far out, that’s a pretty good goal!’.

If memory serves me right, it was Darcy Moore too who was on the goal line for your Goal of the Year when you were playing for the Tigers?

Yeah it was! He’s a pretty handy player and an absolute gun, but he’s contributed to a few goals of mine!